2013 Zombie Awareness Month
Read by Tara Sands
Length: 11 Hrs 51 Min
Genre: YA Zombie Apocalypse
Quick Thoughts: The Dead Tossed Waves is another unique spin on undead literature full of vivid images, well conceived characters and a darkly beautiful world. Carrie Ryan manages to change the voice of her series seamlessly while still delivering on the promises set up in the first novel.
There are three major aspects of Zombie Apocalypse literature, Zombie Outbreak, with humanity dealing with the initial outbreak, Zombie Apocalypse, dealing with the first generation Survivors of the initial onslaught, and Societal Adaptation, how society generations later has changed to live with the realities of an undead world. I am always quite fascinated by the Societal Adaptation aspect. It probably one of the least explored Zombie Apocalypse themes. We have seen many different takes, from societies built on fear and superstition, to others almost making the act of hunting zombies a rite of passage. I have always been fascinated by religious adaptations to zombies explored in literature, and wondered often about how I would form my own apocalyptic death cult. This is often how I spend my time. So many apocalyptic death cults simply do it wrong. Now, I get the accessorizing of the de-jawed zombies on chains. That’s pretty badass, but must they wear black or white ceremonial garb. It seems like you would just stick out like a sore thumb. I think my ritual death cult would use forest or jungle tones. For us, our castes would be named after the greats of Zombie fiction like Keene, Maberry, and Grant as part of a pantheon under the all powerful god Romero. Each caste of the cult would have their own patron saint. The Maberry caste would walk around in carpet body armor, while the Keene caste would perform regular exorcisms on their Zombie accessories. The Grant Cast would be a group of disgraced scientist attempting to create a zombie Red Heifer and Golden Zombie Calf. Last year, for Zombie Awareness Month I listened to The Forest of Hands and Feet, and based on that knew that Carrie Ryan should definitely have a place among the patron saints of my death cult but I plan on waiting until finishing the series to see exactly how her caste’s belief structure should manifest itself, because when organizing an apocalyptic death cult, research is key.
Gabry has lived her entire life within the safety of her small harbor town. Her mother, once a stranger to the town, whose strangeness is a source of shame for Gabry, runs the lighthouse and keeps the shores safe from the undead that wash up with the tide. Gabry always feared leaving the walls of her town, but one spontaneous decisions leads to disaster and forever alters her life and unlocks the secrets of her past. It’s no secret that I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I was actually quite shocked by how much I loved it. That being said I was still a bit hesitant about continuing the series. I thought that the first novel of this series was so brilliant and different that it would be nearly impossible to continue it without a major change in tone. Well, I was right. What I wasn’t right about was that it would affect my overall enjoyment of the novel. Carry Ryan does something that is quite hard to do, complete alter her world, and her voice, yet still create a novel that is almost as compelling and heartbreaking as the original. Now, I still have to say I like the original better, but The Dead Tossed Waves is a totally worthy follow-up. Ryan explores a whole new aspect of the world she created. In many ways, The Dead Tossed Waves in The Forest of Hands and Teeth told in reverse, instead of a novel about an isolated young women discovering there is more to the world than she thought, The Dead Tossed Waves starts as a broader novel, and slowly becomes more intimate and personal. The key to this story is the personal development of Gabry, as she learns more about who she is and what she is capable of. My only complain about the novel is the repetitious moments of self doubt by Gabry. Every time something bad happens, and I promise you, a lot of bad things happen, Gabry went on a huge pity fest listing the many reasons why it was all her fault and how she simply is responsible for all the world’s woes. It was probably true to character, but it became a bit much at times and influenced the pacing of the novel. And of course, there was the dreaded lovey dovey angsty love triangle. It also sometimes became a bit much, but it was just original enough where I didn’t feel like bashing my head in with a ball peen hammer. The Dead Tossed Waves is not as much of a standalone as The Forest of Hands and Teeth, there is a definite direction for the next novel, and an intriguing one at that. In fact, my original plan was to wait and review the finale for next years Zombie Awareness Month, but I’m not quite sure I can wait that long. The Dead Tossed Waves is another unique spin on undead literature full of vivid images, well conceived characters and a darkly beautiful world. Carrie Ryan manages to change the voice of her series seamlessly while still delivering on the promises set up in the first novel.
One of the things I loved about the original of this series was Vane Millon’s exotic and totally unique narration. I will say, part of my hesitancy about this series is that each novel has a different narrator. Yet, as each novel seems to come from a different perspective character, this decision makes sense. While Tara Sands has more of a traditional YA narrator style, I felt her voice was appropriate to the setting. While the perspective character of the first novel needed to stand out, Gabry’s attempts to fit in with her society made Sands approach appropriate. Sands delivers a smart, well thought out performance. Her characters were strong and distinct, but more importantly, she managed to capture the rhythms and poetry of Ryan’s writing, I especially enjoyed her delivery of the climatic scene. She filled it with just the right amount of tension, never rushing the narrative but still creating a sense of urgency. She somehow managed to tap into my inner fear of heights and allowed me to keep holding my breath until I knew the outcome of the character’s crazy adventure. My only point of contention was with the pronunciation of the name Elias. Not that it was pronounced wrong, just not as I expected, and it took me a but to put the sound and name together This is my first experience with Tara Sands’ work, and I felt she really delivered.